There’s no getting around it: Mother’s day is a painful time for those who struggle with infertility. No amount of sugarcoating will ever make it better, and there’s no running away from the sadness. Women the world over are enjoying mother’s day brunches held in their honor, basking in the love and affection of their children and spouses. Social media is flooded with words like “selfless”, “tender”, “caring”, “strong”, “courageous”, “beautiful”, and all the other wonderful adjectives that come to mind when one thinks of a mom. Meanwhile those of us who have not been blessed with the cup of motherhood are left to wade through this interminable void, where no brunches are held in our honor, and where no one exists to call us mother. It’s just another day for the childless, and that in itself is a tough pill to swallow.
But when I’ve been able to pick my head up out of my own emotions, long enough to experience some clarity, I realize that today is a gift. Yes, a gift. Sure, I have no kids, no reason to celebrate, and every reason to be bitter and miserable. But because I have no children gathering around me to love and affirm me today, I have the space to love and affirm others. Because I have no brunches held in my honor today, I have the time to honor others. Because I have no occasion to expect glory and adulation today, I have the means to truly give unconditionally to others. Today above all other days, I can be a vessel of love to God’s people. All I need is to set aside my own desires, say yes, and pour myself out as a gift – a gift with intention, passion, and purpose.
After all, isn’t that what motherhood is all about? It’s all about setting aside one’s own desires, saying yes, and pouring oneself out as a gift so that others may know love and life. By accepting my own emptiness and surrendering – I mean really surrendering – to God’s plan, I am living out my own inherent calling to be a co-creator in the world. I don’t need to have kids to be a bearer of life. Though my body may not know motherhood, whether yet or ever, I will not get in my own heart’s way of being pregnant with love and bursting with joy. It doesn’t matter that I have no one to call me mother. Inside me is a life conceived by the Spirit, and because of this life I am able to do all things – to be selfless, tender, caring, strong, courageous, and beautiful. Because of this life, I can be truly happy when I speak the words Happy Mother’s Day. Because of this life, I don’t need to sugarcoat, I don’t need to run, and though I may feel sadness, I still have reason to hope.
So if you’re like me, childless on mother’s day and maybe feeling a little lost or lonely, take heart. Reach for the life that is already inside you; let it live; let it out into the world. It will hurt. It will be hard. But this is the cup given to us on this day, and this cup is our share in the story of creation. And when you rise to the challenge you will find that you are also pregnant with purpose. You are also called to bear life and give love. You are also, heart and soul, a mother.
And this day, just like any other day, is yours.